/ 6 May 2022

Concourt dismisses Mkhwebane’s rescission application

Pp Busisiwe Mkhwebane018 Easy Resize.com
Axed public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo by Madelene Cronje

The constitutional court on Friday dismissed a rescission application by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that was integral to her attempts to halt her likely impeachment by parliament and has become the subject of a public spat with the apex court.

“The constitutional court has considered the application for direct access rescission. It has concluded that there is no need for directions to be issued in terms of rule 18(4) calling for written submissions and/or answering affidavits,” the ruling read.

“The court has concluded that the rescission application does not establish any rescindable errors in the judegment. There are no exceptional circumstances that warrant the rescission of the judgement.”

Mkhwebane filed the application after a judgement by the court in February that, in the main, upheld the rules for the section 194 inquiry and allowed it to proceed. 

The court’s decision on the rescission application was widely expected. It was also central to her application to the Western Cape high court for an interdict barring parliament from proceeding with its inquiry pending that decision.

In the meanwhile, the waters were muddied — and the high court hearing was postponed to mid-May — by the fact that two days before the hearing parliament’s counsel received an obscure text message predicting the dismissal of the rescission application.

It was phrased somewhat more firmly by the sender, Ismail Abramjee. He informed parliament’s legal counsel, Andrew Breitenbach, that the court had reached a decision and would communicate it some time in the last week of April.

Although Abramjee has since said he was weighing in on the strength of nothing but his own intuition, Mkhwebane has tried to milk the anomaly in her quest to stave off the impeachment proceedings.

She has demanded that the constitutional court initiate an inquiry into the “leak, sought to dictate its terms of reference and petitioned parliament to delay the start of the impeachment inquiry pending the outcome of the inquiry into the “leak”.
But the dismissal of the rescission application means that legally it can proceed.